Posted on October 8, 2017

Donna Quesada: Well, Leonard it’s really nice to meet you. David gave me your book a few weeks ago and I sure have enjoyed it and I was just delighted to know.

I would be talking with you today. So on a personal level thank you and thank you for sharing your time with Awaken.

Leonard Jacobson: Well, thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here with you.

DONNA: Thank you very much. I spent some time in Sydney. Many years ago, though. One day I’ll make it back. Well, as you know the web site is called Awaken.com, so we have a little tradition…so, if you’ll indulge us, we like to start with the question of what it means to awaken. So, if you wouldn’t mind sharing your thoughts on that?

LEONARD: Ok. Well, for me, it’s very very simple. We have to ask the question, “what are we awakening from?” And, “what are we Awakening to?” What we are awakening from is the world of the human thinking mind. The mind that never stops thinking. And whenever we think, we take ourselves into this world of the mind and it’s really the world of the remembered past and the imagined future. Sometimes I call it “the world of the mind.” Sometimes I call it “your story.” Everything outside of this moment is your story. It’s based in the past or imagining into the future. So, sometimes I call it “your dream.” It’s a world of illusion because it’s made up of memory, imagining, concepts, ideas, beliefs. And it’s also a world of separation because we’ve actually separated ourselves from the truth in life and the truth of who we are. The truth of love, the truth of God. So it’s a very limited level of consciousness when we’re functioning within the world of the mind. And we are actually governed by the ego. It’s almost like the ego is the custodian in that world of the mind…in the story…within the dream. And it has a very specific role that it plays within that limited level of consciousness.

When we are in the mind…that part of ourselves speaking, goes all the way back to our childhood. In fact, it goes all the way beyond that. It goes into past lives, but we don’t need to concern ourselves with that for now. But it goes all the way back to childhood, so when you are living with the mind, you are living with all those limited beliefs that form in the mind when you are a child. For example, limiting beliefs like, I’m all alone…there’s no one here for me…I’m not good enough…I can’t do it…there must be something wrong with me…I’m not loved. All of those sorts of limiting beliefs that affect our experience of life and affect our experience of ourselves.

We also live with all of the repressed emotions that have accumulated within us since childhood and they are still with us. These repressed emotions play havoc with our lives. So, that’s what we are awakening from. A world of illusion and separation. Filled with all the limiting beliefs and repressed feelings and false concepts and beliefs. What do we Awaken to?

We Awaken into the world of Now. The real truth. The present moment. And as we awaken into the world of now, into the present moment, we begin to experience ourselves in a completely different way. Almost like we are experiencing a new dimension of ourselves. A new dimension of life. And our experience of life is dramatically changed. So, that’s what I mean by awakening. Awakening into the world of now and then we’ll experience the truth on many, many levels.

DONNA: You know, it’s an interesting thing. You were saying how we are either swinging like a pendulum into the past, or otherwise into the fantasies of the future, but this is something that I’ve thought about before…too much thinking is exactly the problem. But, even when we are in the present, it seems like the mind is still in its fantasies because we are busy judging and we are only judging what we see, which is part of the story. So, we are sabotaged even when we are here. Is that the work of the mind as well?

LEONARD: What’s happening is that you’re not really present. You think you’re present but at the level where you are free of all this. So, you really need to be able to distinguish. When you are truly present and awake in the present moment and when you are in the mind, it is very subtle. We need to be able to distinguish those two dimensions, so we can never be mistaken again. And I have a very clear test, a very simple test that distinguishes whether we are truly present or whether we are in the mind. It’s very similar to that test we did at school, the litmus test. Red, Blue or Orange. Whether it’s acid or alkaline. It’s simple and it’s clear and as non-negotiable as that test. So, the test of presence is very simple. It is the test of science. If you are truly present in this moment, your mind is silent, which means there are no thoughts. You’re not trying to stop thoughts, but you are so present that thoughts stop all by themselves because you are present.

You see, thoughts are always past, future. There is no possibility of thinking within the present moment. It’s impossible. You have to leave the present moment to think about it. So, all our thoughts take us into the past or future. So, that’s the real test. How do you be truly present? You feel like you are truly here and nowhere else and your mind is silent. Even if it’s just for 10 seconds. That’s actually okay. Because slowly, slowly, the space between thoughts will get wider and wider. A huge gap is possible until you wake up one morning and you find that your mind is essentially silent. And you are essentially present. Now, you can still think, of course. You can still think, but now you are thinking consciously. It’s not that stream of uninvited, unconscious thoughts.

DONNA: This is a great subtlety…because I’ve heard it said that you can not stop thoughts—that the mind just generates thoughts. I remember one Zen Master called them “secretions.” And so, the idea is not to stop them, but rather, to not be attached or engaged or busy with them…attending to them.

LEONARD: Well, you know, that is true. And what you are saying is absolutely true. If you have any intention whatsoever, to try and stop thoughts. Well, that is a judgment of thoughts, therefore it will strengthen the thought. So really, we could say that the thought is really not your business! You just focus on being present and if you reach a certain level of presence you’re really here and nowhere else. The thoughts will stop by themselves, without you trying to stop them. I’m not saying they will stop forever. I’m saying they will stop in this moment. And as long as you are truly present the way I’m describing, then the thoughts will remain silent. Your mind will remain silent until you again get caught up in that thinking process.

You see the truth is that we are all very, very hopelessly addicted to thinking. It’s the strongest addiction. It’s stronger than the addiction to heroin…gambling…sex. Anything else you can think of. We humans are completely addicted to thinking. And we are habituated to living within the world of the mind, which is a very low level of consciousness. And there is a significant obstacle to us coming out of the world of the mind. And that obstacle is the resistance of the ego. The ego wants you to be spiritual. It would love you to be enlightened, but it doesn’t know anything about being present. And so, when you find yourself present and your mind is silent…the ego doesn’t like that. It’s open to enlightenment, not silence. It was looking for the big bang, not silence. And so, it’s very skilled at pulling you out of the present moment. So. in order for us to remain fundamentally present, we have a certain process to go through, which I describe in my teaching as Step Two of the Two Step Path to Awakening.

DONNA: I’m going to be asking you about those two steps. But I love what you said, that “the thoughts are none of our business.” I love that.

LEONARD: We notice them when they are arriving, but don’t get involved. Don’t try and stop them.

DONNA: You mentioned the ‘E’ word. “Enlightenment.” So is there such a thing as enlightenment? Or, is it a step by step moment kind of affair?

LEONARD: The problem is, when you read about people’s enlightenment. It will describe what it is like to be enlightened. What they are really talking about is enlightenment experiences. I’ve had very profound enlightenment experiences. As much as anyone you’d ever read about…ever. In terms of experiences. But all experiences pass. And what doesn’t pass is the one experiencing…so who is experiencing the enlightenment? I am.

You see, many people become identified with the experience itself and then they get caught again into the story, thinking they are enlightened. If somebody says to me “I am enlightened.” The first thing I’ll say to them is “Who is enlightened?” The only answer is…the truth is, “I am.” So, it is the I am that you are. I am presence, which is that dimension of you that is of this moment and only of this moment. This is the Awakened you. I much prefer the word “Awakened” to “Enlightened.” Because everyone has an idea and a concept of Enlightenment, which is just a concept. It doesn’t really mean anything. So if I was going to give you a definition of enlightenment, I would say you are now so fundamentally established in presence that you never get caught up or lost in your story. You might still have a story, you still play in the world of time but you never get lost anymore. You know where the truth is. It is you, fully present in this moment. Present with what is here.

Now you’re open to the mystery. You’re opening into the oneness at the deeper levels of presence. That is where it becomes very, very interesting and engaging because at the deeper levels of presence, the illusion of separation that we live with within the mind is gone. And now, you open into oneness. And at the deepest levels of presence, we literally can experience the living presence of God in all things. In other words, God has Omnipresence. At the very deepest levels, awakened presence is quite a point that heaven on Earth will be revealed for you. It wont be revealed for everyone. It will be revealed to those that are totally present…the past and future is no longer projecting onto the present moment. We are experiencing the present moment in its very pure state. We are experiencing what is really here, free of projections, your opinions, your past experiences, your judgments. All of that is just gone.

DONNA: Before I get to the process of how to get there, I want to get a little heavy for a moment. Many spiritual teachers talk about the “Dark Night of the Soul.” Tolle refers to it as “limit situations.” And one of my teachers, who is one of David’s teachers, shares his experience of having a near death experience, which sort of propelled him, or served as the impetus for his own spiritual path. Do you think a person needs to have a “crisis” in order to open to the desire to awaken?

LEONARD: Well, I’ll tell you how it works from my perspective, which is…almost everyone on this planet is living almost exclusively within the story…within the dream. Let’s call it “the story” for now. Now, who wants to wake up out of that happy story? The answer is, no one! Very few people will be motivated to wake up out of a happy story. But if our story becomes more and more full of suffering, maybe we’ll get to a point where we will spontaneously awaken out of that story full of suffering.

I’ll give you two examples of who went through that. Number one: Eckhart Tolle. He describes it very clearly that he was so down, so depressed…his story was so painful. He was just sitting on a bench somewhere and suddenly he awakened out of his story. It can happen quite spontaneously like that. The story becomes so difficult, so full of pain and suffering that we have a spontaneous awakening out of it. Another example is Buddha. He tried everything…followed every path…every condition…everything. He finally realized he couldn’t get there. So he gave up and in that giving up, of course, it opened up.

DONNA: Surrender.

LEONARD: Yes, It’s a surrender. I give up, I surrender. I can’t do this. And it’s in that moment of relaxation that the truth is revealed for him. I think Jesus had a similar experience when he was baptized in the water by John the Baptist. Symbolically anyway, it washed away his past. His personality was momentarily washed away. Now here’s the real problem though. If you ask yourself who is behind the suffering in our stories…my answer is very simple. It’s God. God is increasing our suffering because what God wants of any of us is to awaken out of our suffering, our story. But no one will wake up out of a happy story, so God keeps making our story incrementally more difficult and painful. The problem is, nobody wakes up out of a…very few wake up out of the story. They stay in the story…trying to make it better. And that’s the trap. It’s easier to wake up out of the dream, than try and fix the dream. Everyone is lost in the dream trying to make it better and the more you try to make it better, the more you get lost in the dream.

DONNA: So would you say to the people, the happily deluded people…is there any need to wake up at all?

LEONARD: No, Maybe it’s not their turn. Not their lifetime. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Some people are just sort of naturally awake and that’s why their lives are flowing so well. And there still is a happy story. And other people…maybe it’s not their time. It doesn’t really matter. Each individual has to find their way to this path and usually it’s the soul that drives us to this path to awakening, even though we’re not aware of it.

Continued in Part II…

Source: AWAKEN

Advertisements